|ellen_datlow (ellen_datlow) wrote,|
@ 2011-03-03 12:30 am UTC
Stone with a fantastic cast of Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, Milla Jovavich, and Frances Conroy is very well acted but....the story is very slow, very muddled, and ultimately not all that satisfying. After a quick scene about a young married couple who stay together when they shouldn't, we see that couple (Conroy and DeNiro) decades later in a claustrophobic horribly miserable relationship. Jack Mabry assesses convicts for parole and is about to retire. Edward Norton is a convict who's been in prison 8 years and just can't wait to finish his time. In fact, he's having a nervous breakdown. Milla J is Lucetta, Stone's gorgeous wife who says she's willing to do anything to get him out of prison asap. About halfway through the movie something really weird happened. I became much more sympathetic toward Stone that Mabry-despite the fact that Stone seems to be a con artist of the first order.
Motives are muddled, themes are muddled (strains of religiosity and mysticism through the film), and relationships are hinted at rather than fully drawn.
Barney's Version stars the fabulous Paul Giametti as the utter prick Barney, who from the minute we meet him in 1974, betrays every woman he's ever met and is pretty repulsive throughout. Dustin Hoffman is also great playing his dad. The book is by Mordecai Richler, who seems to have been expert at creating despicable characters (eg. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravetz). What's incomprehensible to my mother and myself is why three attractive, intelligent women (the first we don't know enough about to judge her intelligence) he married would possibly have married him? He's charmless, unattractive, and downright mean. ick ick ick.
Solitary Man with Michael Douglas is also about a womanizing liar but Douglas's Ben is much smoother than Barney and this viewer could at least see why women were attracted to Ben. The insufficiently convincing reason for Ben to have suddenly gone into major mid-life crisis mode (stealing, in addition to compulsively cheating on his wife Susan Sarandon with very young women)is that 6 1/2 years earlier he's told by his physician that he needs an MRI for something. Ben refuses to follow up and becomes a total creep. I'd just assumed he'd always been a disgusting creep, but nope--it started overnight. (I don't buy it). ick ick ick.
Ok. If we pick up another movie at Publix, it's going to be a comedy, romantic or not. That's a promise.